The Green Economy Review: Insight into Green Job Developments Worldwide Volume 7. April-May, 2011

Welcome to  Blue Green Canada's Green Economy Review, our monthly round-up of green economic developments across the globe. If you are a new subscriber, you can find past issues  here.
In this issue:
Manufacturing Starts
Ontario’s Green Energy Act continues to attract manufacturers to the province.
Among the recent developments: United Solar announced the establishment of a facility in LaSalle, Ontario, which is expected to employ 80 people in the manufacture of thin-film laminates. SunGrow Canada opened a solar inverter facility in Vaughan, giving rise to another 50 jobs. Silfab began production at their module manufacturing facility in Mississauga, where they will employ 200 people when at full production. Samsung C&T Corp. and SMA Solar Technology AG announced plans to build solar inverters at Celestica's facilities in Toronto. Kromet International Inc. announced an agreement with Sharp Electronics to supply Sharp panels with Kromet’s solar racking systems, manufactured in Cambridge and Hamilton, Ontario. And Algatec solar announced their plans to establish a solar module manufacturing facility in Windsor.
Outside of the province, First Solar acquired property in Arizona, where they intend to manufacture 250 MWs work of solar modules annually. German solar manufacturer, Mage Solar, announced plans to open an assembly plant in Georgia, USA.  Helios USA opened a module manufacturing facility in Milwaukee. Vestas is expected to re-open their wind turbine manufacturing plant on the Isle of Wight. And GE is said to be scouting sites for a thin-film solar panel factory. 
Green Jobs Cropping Up
Despite reports that Canada is falling behind in green job creation, some regions of the country are expecting an influx of green jobs. One such region is Windsor Essex, where job creation in the wind and solar industries is anticipated to ramp up rapidly this summer thanks to a number of manufacturing facilities which have already begun or are expected to begin production in the area. B.C. is also expected to add a number of green jobs in the months to come as Canada’s first offshore wind-farm was given the go-ahead.
A 130-turbine Cape Wind project, off Massachusetts, was also approved recently, and is expected to create 600 to 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 150 permanent jobs during operations.
Green jobs are also proving to be attractive to job seekers here in Canada. 3000 people came out to compete for one of 50 new jobs at Unconquered Sun, a solar manufacturer in Windsor. And Canadian students are reportedly flocking to environment-related programs across the country.
In the U.S., the Bureau of Labor estimates that nearly 60,000 people are now employed in the solar and wind industries. Reports out of Michigan, Tennessee, Vermont and Ohio also report that green jobs are on the rise in those states. And a study out of California estimated that the state would be home to 211,000 green jobs in 2020, and the next step is to ensure decent wages and lower staff turnover to improve quality. 
Training and the Skills Gap
As green jobs continue to crop up and global demand for renewable energy continues to rise, the possibility of a skills gap and the need for training remains of concern. For example, a recent report from Deloitte cites labour shortages in Europe and North American and argues that “in 2011 and beyond, governments will need to promote workforce development, as well as job creation, if the anticipated benefits of the green economy are to be realised.” The Centre for Alternative Technology in the U.K. also warns of a looming labour shortage, citing a lack of trainers, facilities and financing.
In response to this shortage, a number of training initiatives and programs have been launched across the U.S. Among them:
Outside the U.S, the British Government announced that it will help fund the training of 1000 apprenticeships as part of its flagship Green Deal programme, and the Scottish government announced plans to create Green Academies to train a "green army" to install environmentally friendly technology at homes in the country.
Global Investment Rising, China in the Lead
A report from the Pew Charitable Trust finds that China is widening its lead in the clean energy race. Using total investment in renewable energy as the measure, the U.S. is now in third place, behind China and Germany. Canada ranks 7th.
The World Economic Forum and Bloomberg New Energy Finance both echoed the Pew’s findings, reporting that 2010 was a record year for renewable energy investments, thanks largely to the global economic recovery, and China is now in a clear leadership position. Bloomberg also reports that grid parity for solar is likely just around the corner.
Here in Ontario, Clear Sky Advisors have downgraded their predictions for solar installations in the province, but they still believe Ontario will become the largest North American market. Clear Sky cites a lack of clarity in a government approval process as the chief reason for the downgrade.
Also in Ontario, a report co-authored by the Niagara Workforce Planning Board, the Hamilton Training Advisory Board and the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie, argued that the region should embrace clean technologies, it they wish “to remain competitive in the international community.”
Oil, Nukes, and RE
The nuclear crisis in Japan and continued unrest in the Middle East are bolstering the case for renewable energy, according to a number of reports, including analysts at Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Wind energy leaders, such as Vestas CEO, Ditlev Engel, are also optimistic that rising oil prices and the increasing severity of climate change bode well for the future of wind.
And a leak and spill of hydro-fracking liquids in Pennsylvania may also augment the case for green energy.
Policies and Targets
Government polices and targets continue to drive renewable energy development. Recent announcements include:
Investment and Financing

The green economy continues to recruit impressive amounts of capital. Notable announcements include:
International Developments
A number of international developments have taken place over the last couple months. Among them:
  • Romania is expected to implement one of the most generous renewable energy schemes in the EU.